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Penned by Alan Pettingale in 2009, this article explores the alarming trends in the masonry repair industry that have been observed over the years. A decade on, these concerns still hold relevance and require immediate attention.

The Overlooked Cost of Foundation Repair

Recent surveys have highlighted an alarming statistic: billions of dollars are spent annually on foundation repair in the United States. This is a staggering figure, like the amount spent on remedying damages from floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, and earthquakes.

In stark contrast, the expenditure on masonry restoration remains alarmingly low. This is surprising, given that foundation damage usually impacts the supported masonry above. This trend indicates an urgent need to shift focus to masonry inspection and repair.

The Hidden Dangers in New Structures

Adding to the problem, poor workmanship in new structures is causing significant masonry damage. From corroded wall ties discovered within a year of construction to blocked cavities in veneer walls preventing weep holes from functioning, these issues are becoming increasingly common.

The Aging Historic Buildings

Our historic buildings are starting to show their age and require urgent repairs. Small towns keen to rejuvenate their historic squares are inadvertently putting visitors at risk from falling masonry and collapsing structures. Despite the appeal of these revitalized spaces, the potential hazards are being overlooked.

The Silent Impact of Masonry Problems

The repercussions of masonry problems, like the health hazards posed by black mold or the damage caused by infestation, are significant. Yet, these outcomes are not often attributed to their root cause – failing masonry work.

An Impending Epidemic

Given the current neglect and the impact of failing masonry on both private and public buildings, we are on the brink of an epidemic. With few existing provisions and guidelines for specialized masonry repair techniques, and decision makers lacking sufficient knowledge, we are ill-prepared for what lies ahead.

The Need for Attention and Education

Professor Tom Grimm once stated that of the approximately 12,000 papers written on masonry, nearly all focus on new construction. This highlights the pressing need for economic and effective masonry repair methods.

The Role of The Masonry Society

The Masonry Society has positioned itself as a valuable resource in this crucial area. By coordinating between field practitioners and bringing theoretical and practical knowledge into play, they’re making a difference.


The building industry needs to shift its focus from erecting new structures to preserving existing ones. We must protect the assets we already have, from individual family homes to our national heritage enshrined in our courthouses, city halls, churches and town squares.

Join the movement. Make a difference. Let’s ensure that these alarming trends in the masonry repair industry are addressed effectively and promptly. #jointheTMS #makeadifference #Tom Grimm